Best of the Best
The 2014 Family Choice Awards
Welcome, readers — and thank you. We asked for your participation and your enthusiasm showed, casting your votes on our website last month for our annual Family Choice Awards. Each year, we ask readers to vote on their favorite family-friendly places, those organizations and professionals around the city that provide everything families use, from pediatricians and schools, to great escapes both near and far.
We hope you’ll enjoy discovering the results as well as visiting the places mentioned here. We also hope vendors recognize the important role parents play in supporting our local economy. Parents spend a significant portion of their budgets caring for their families. We are lucky when we have business owners and nonprofits that also recognize our value and continue to raise the bar in their service to the pubic.
Congrats to all of the Family Choice Award winners. You are tops in our book.
Best Day CareGold: Memphis Jewish Community Center Early Childhood Center Silver: TIE • Roulhac's Daycare & Lindenwood Christian Child Care CenterBronze: Christ United Methodist Church
One of the top requests we receive is to help parents find quality day care. Thankfully there are more good centers today then there were a decade ago. So what makes these centers best of the best? Caring professionals, a stimulating environment, and the assurance that your baby will be number one.
Best Parent’s Day Out ProgramsGold: Memphis Jewish Community CenterSilver: Holy RosaryBronze: Mullins United Methodist
Perfect when children are young and mom (or dad) needs a breather during the week.
Best PreschoolGold: Memphis Jewish Community CenterSilver: Miss Lee’s Preschool at Grace St. Luke’sBronze: St. Agnes/St. Dominic
Best Public School Gold: White Station High School Silver: Campus School Bronze: Richland Elementary
We had a bonanza of votes in this category, with lots of schools getting notice. But ultimately, White Station High continued its rule as the city’s most popular public high school, winning Gold again by an impressive margin. Campus School successfully grabbed the Silver (edging out Grahamwood), and Richland Elementary zoomed in to nab the Bronze. Congrats to these fine schools.
Best Private SchoolGold: Holy RosarySilver: TIE • Woodland Presbyterian & Grace St. Luke’sBronze: TIE • Lausanne Collegiate School & St. Agnes Academy-St. Dominic School
This is another popular category, with many shout-outs to favorite schools. This year, Holy Rosary roused its supporters to grab the Gold, bumping Woodland Presbyterian into the Silver position, shared by the ever popular Grace St. Luke’s. The Bronze position also resulted in a tie between a new entrant, Lausanne Collegiate School, and St. Agnes Academy/St. Dominic School. Congrats to all.
Best Music LessonsGold: School of RockSilver: Music for AardvarksBronze: University of Memphis Community Music School
Memphis’ musical heritage is in good hands with these fine music programs.
Best Dance LessonsGold: Ballet Memphis SchoolSilver: New Ballet EnsembleBronze: TIE • Roudnev Youth Ballet and Children’s Ballet Theatre
Best Theatre ProgramGold: Playhouse on the SquareSilver: Theatre MemphisBronze: Germantown Community Theatre
Whether it’s working on stage or off, exposing your children to the arts will build their self-confidence while shaping their love of theatre and dance.
HEALTH CARE SERVICES
Best PediatricianGold: Dr. Chris Hanson, Laurelwood Pediatrics Silver: Dr. Ashley Miller, Laurelwood PediatricsBronze: TIE • Dr. Robert Eiseman, Drs. Segal, Kronenberg, Tsiu, and Eiseman Pediatric Care, & Aimee Christian, Memphis Pediatrics
Dr. Chris Hanson must have a very loyal following, as this is his fourth year to grab the Gold for Best Pediatrician. But Laurelwood colleague, Dr. Ashley Miller, nipped at his heals to land the Silver. And close behind were the Bronze winners, Drs. Robert Eiseman and Aimee Christian.
Best OrthodontistGold: Dr. Brad Wilkinson, Pediatric Dental Specialties Silver: Dr. Danny Weiss, Weiss Orthodontics Bronze: Dr. Cooper Sandusky, Sandusky Orthodontics
Put your best smile forward. Parents needing orthodontic care need look no further than these award winners.
Best Pediatric Dentist Gold: Dr. Brad Wilkinson, Pediatric Dental Specialties Silver: Dr. Michael Blen, Pediatric Dentistry with Dr. B Bronze: Dr. Betsy Barcroft, Dentistry for Children
Best Pediatric Asthma & Allergy SpecialistsGold: East Memphis Allergy & AsthmaSilver: Allergy and Asthma Specialists of MemphisBronze: Allergy and Asthma Care
Best Kids’ Party DestinationGold: Memphis Botanic Garden - My Big BackyardSilver: Memphis Zoo Bronze: Pump It Up
Kids love being active. So whether it’s exploring My Big Backyard, this year’s Gold winner, spending a day at the Memphis Zoo, or bouncing at Pump It Up, we think you’ll agree, these destinations offer opportunities for exploring, learning, and exercising.
Best Kids’ Party EntertainmentGold: Children’s Museum of Memphis Silver: Sky Zone Sports Bronze: Pump It Up
Best Bakery for Birthday Cakes Gold: Muddy’s Bake Shop Silver: Frost Bronze: Miss Muff’n Bakery
Muddy’s Bake Shop continues to please our readers’ sweet tooth, earning the Gold by a landslide. If you haven’t tasted the goodies of these award winners, you’re in for a treat.
Best Birthday SweetsGold: Yolo Frozen YogurtSilver: Baskin-Robbins Ice CreamBronze: Whimsy Cookie Company
Best Restaurant With KidsGold: Chick-Fil-A Silver: Huey’s Bronze: Mellow Mushroom
Chick-Fil-A knocked edged out Huey’s for the Gold position this year. Huey’s earned Silver, and the growing popularity of Mellow Mushroom earned them a Bronze.
Best Restaurant Without KidsGold: Restaurant Iris Silver: Flight Bronze: Folk’s Folly
Best Local Pizza PlaceGold: Memphis Pizza Café Silver: Garibaldi’s PizzaBronze: Trolley Stop
This trifecta repeated in the exact positions again this year. Pizza makers, here is your competition.
Best BarbecueGold: Central BBQ Silver: Germantown Commissary Bronze: Corky’s
In a city known for its barbeque, it’s no small feat to wind up in the winner’s circle. Central BBQ, now serving it’s tangy fare in three locations around the city locations, continues to deliver. It serves pork that is smoky, juicy, finger-licking good.
Best Healthy Kids’ MenuGold: Chick-Fil-A Silver: Jason’s Deli Bronze:Holiday Ham
NEW • Best Farm-to-Table RestaurantGold: The FarmerSilver: Hog & HominyBronze: Trolley Stop Market
In a salute to the farm-to-table movement, this category recognizes restaurants that incorporate locally produced meats and vegetables into their fare. The Farmer (formerly The Elegant Farmer) was the Gold winner and a hands-down favorite here. We suspect it’s due to their sinfully delicious macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and pan-fried catfish. Yum.
NEW • Best Prepared MealsGold: Curbside CasserolesSilver: Lisa’s LunchboxBronze: Katie’s Kitchen
When you’re short on time (and energy), take-out services are the way to go. Curbside Casseroles creates delicious meals that will feed an army or two.
Best Salon for Kids’ HaircutsGold: Sports Clips Silver: Sweet & Sassy Bronze: Fantastic Sam’s
Congrats to these steady favorites.
Best Spa for MomGold: Gould’s Day Spa and Salon Silver: TIE • Germantown Day Spa & Serenity Day Spa Bronze: Massage Envy
Treat yourself to a day of replenishment. Gold winner Gould’s offers nine spa/salon locations for massage, mani-pedis, body wraps, and more.
NEW • Best Family FitnessGold: Memphis Jewish Community CenterSilver: YMCABronze: Kroc Center
Getting fit as a family has never been easier. Gold winner Memphis JCC offers a beautiful swimming facility, and more.
NEW • Best Yoga or Pilates StudioGold: Midtown YogaSilver: Better Bodies YogaBronze: TIE: Cardio Barre & Ballet Memphis
NEW • Best Children’s PhotographerGold: Alex GinsbergSilver: Hal JaffeBronze: TIE • Allison Rodgers & J. Herndon Photography
SHOP TIL YOU DROP
Best Locally Owned Children’s StoreGold: Cotton TailsSilver: Booksellers at Laurelwood Bronze: The Village Toymaker
NEW • Best Kids Consignment StoreGold: Once Upon a Child Silver: Rhea Lana Bronze: TIE • Summer Kids & Junior League Repeat Boutique
Best Store for Baby GiftsGold: Cotton Tails Silver: Itty Bitty Bella Bronze: Village Toymaker
Best Local Place to Buy ToysGold: The Village ToymakerSilver: Knowledge TreeBronze: The Booksellers at Laurelwood
GET OUT THERE
Best Free Family OutingGold: Memphis Zoo, Free Tuesdays Silver: Shelby Farms Bronze: Levitt Shell Concert Series
Recognized as one the nation’s top zoos, Memphis Zoo continues to be a local family favorite. This year, the zoo won not one but four Gold awards for Free Best Family Outing, Kids Field Trip, Recreational Outing and Tourist Attraction. Congrats.
Best Field Trip for Kids Gold: Memphis Zoo Silver: TIE • Memphis Botanic Garden and Children’s Museum of Memphis Bronze: Cedar Hill Farm
Best Overnight Summer CampGold: Victory Ranch Silver: Girl Scouts Heart of the South - Camp Kiwani Bronze: TIE • Pinecrest & Space Camp, Huntsville, AL
NEW • Best Recreational Outing for FamiliesGold: Memphis Zoo Silver: TIE • Shelby Farms & Biking the Green LineBronze: Memphis Redbirds
Best Annual Event For FamiliesGold: Starry Nights at Shelby Farms Silver: Zoo Boo Bronze: TIE • Germantown Festival & Zoo Lights
Best Tourist AttractionGold: Memphis Zoo Silver: Graceland Bronze: National Civil Rights Museum
Best Local BlogGold: East Memphis Moms (eastmemphismoms.blogspot.com)Silver: I Love Memphis (Ilovememphis.com) Bronze: Three Kids, a Minivan & a Mortgage (erikandkatekrull.blogspot.com)